Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Unified Theory Of Relationships--Revised

The worm has turned. The tide has shifted. The barometer is rising (or falling, dang which is it??). I think I stand corrected.

I posted recently on Allison's Unified Theory of Relationships to the effect that people in midlife finding lasting relationships was akin to pigs flying, or snowballs coolly sipping an iced tea in hell.

I have many single friends, male and female, and it's pretty obvious to me that we ALL want that special relationship...but few of us have them. Oh, we try. We venture onto Match, we see this person and that. But there is always something, or many things, that don't work.

At least, that's how I saw it a scant 7 or 8 months ago.

But now, I'm wistfully, and a bit sadly, experiencing in my broad range of friends and acquaintances, that suddenly many people are pairing up. And, pairing up in far more promising circumstances than I would have imagined possible those few months back.

Probably no fewer than 5 or 6 friends and exes have found a love.

Wistfully, because it's so nice to see what they have. Sadly, because in my weaker moments, I have to wonder what's wrong with me? Am I sending a message that I'm not interested in a relationship, am I too picky, am I overlooking the nugget of gold under my nose, am I too aloof, am I too picky? I have to ask that last twice because inevitably I wonder if in my 'old' age, I have unrealistic expectations of what this should be.

I don't know the answer, it seems common wisdom that one should not 'settle', and the blessing of hitting midlife is that you kinda know what you are and are not willing to add to your life. But what's 'not settling' to one, is unrealistic expectations to another.

But, I see those around me pairing up and I'm happy for them. And, it makes me sad to be alone. I look up at the moon and the stars on a hot summer evening, at all that vast, impersonal expanse, and I feel very small and alone. And, I wonder if that is how it will always be.

Perhaps I should see this as evidence that it can happen when you least expect it. That things can change in an instant.

Perhaps it's a sign to look deep within and examine my innermost desires and expectations.

Maybe I just need to get out more.

In the meantime, I ache, and yearn, and wonder.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Uproarious Lunch with Midlife Gals

A month or so ago I was contacted by a lady who is blogging with her sister on all things middle aged. They call themselves Mid Life Gals. We exchanged some emails and it was clear to me that these two were characters of the first degree. And, being the snoop that I am, the more we went back and forth, the more I realized I could not rest until I had heard the backstory on these two!

I mean, two 50 something gals who didn't even know what a blog is only a few short months ago have already captured the attention of MORE magazine, the folks who run SXSW, and various book publishers. Not bad for a start :)

The blog is not for the faint hearted or for those who walk out of R rated movies. Despite that...or because of is hilarious. And, don't even get me started on the videos...the one of SalGal 'barrel racing' with one of those scooters elderly folks sometimes find useful is...well check out Jazzy Scooter Race for yourself.

I finally got to satisfy my curiosity and met KK and SalGal for lunch last week. They started right off with a glass of wine. You know, I'm always somewhat jealous of folks who have drinks at lunch. It seems decadent, it seems vaguely European, it seems so, well, so sophisticated!

I myself find it hard to partake. I tell myself it's because I would be asleep all afternoon and it is the rare afternoon I don't have something I THINK is important to do (as opposed to without a doubt important to do :). But, it could be because it seems decadent, etc. Normally I would LOVE being decadent and sophisticated...what is my hang up with this??!!

Whatever...the conversation did get rolling without benefit of my imbibing. Anyway, within minutes, I realized that they are, indeed, characters of the first degree, delightful characters! We hit it right off. Hmmm, maybe it takes one to know one. Don't you think it's better to be a character and in the company of characters than too straight-laced. Next time, maybe I can get up the nerve to belly right up to the bar and have a glass too!

You should check these two out, they are a hoot hoot hoot! You can see them on their blog (link above) or on WomenBloom.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Secret Strikes Again!

I have mentioned in other posts that my experiment this year with renting out my house, putting my belongings into storage, renting a room, and developing WomenBloom has been incredibly serendipitous. Everything has lined up so smoothly. It's been so serendipitous in fact that, if I think about it too much, it freaks me out.

Well, I've begun noticing lately that it's going beyond even serendipitous (I'm getting completely spooked now). As you might imagine, creating this website and developing the content part of it has involved me figuring out a whole lot of things. And, that often means hunting down people and resources that I need.

What has recently begun happening is that as soon as I realize I need a resource, or an idea, or whatever, AND I can articulate it, it comes to me. Whoa! I find that weird! It's wonderful...but weird.

Remember The Secret? I've devoted more than a little time in these blog posts to pondering how that principle works. Well, that's kinda what's happening....I ask, and it comes. And, we aren't talking common, one on every corner kinds of things. We're talking pretty specialized expertise often.

What's going on? I've said I think part of the secret of The Secret is about focus. If you are clear on what you want, and you are focused on making it reality, you are probably quite absorbed with making it manifest. I know I'm totally absorbed in this project. I'm talking about it (sorry my dear, patient friends), I journal about it, even when I'm not actually doing something directly with it, I'm thinking about it. Pretty much my whole being is focused on it.

And, as a friend pointed out, it's a project that's bigger than me. She thinks that's another reason I'm attracting what I need so easily. I have been surprised (duh, helloA!!) at the stories women have about their journeys. I feel so privileged to hear them and make them available to other women who hopefully find them as inspiring as I do. And, these are 'normal' women with extraordinary stories, not the Hillarys of the world. I LOVE providing an outlet for them, I LOVE it!

I guess that's what's going on. I've never experienced it before and it is very different from other things I've undertaken that felt like slogging, uphill work.

Whyever/however it's happening, I'm enormously grateful for it. I asked the universe for the opportunity to experience myself in a certain way and it is delivering, in Spades! What a memorable stage of life I'm now in. It is so surpassing what I imagined for myself.

Hey, maybe this 50 thing isn't so bad :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Unified Theory of Mid-Life Relationships

I was visiting with a single friend the other day and the conversation turned to relationships. It's funny how that so often happens :). We were pondering why it can seem so hard to find a person for the long haul when you get into middle age. Why should that be?? I mean really, why should that BE?

I ask you, how many singles do you know in the 40 + crowd who actually find someone and end up married or partnered? I know a LOT of people (married and single) and I can only think of 1 couple that I know personally. I know OF maybe 2 more at most. I suppose the chances are slightly better than winning the lottery, but I'd have to see the math on that.

Weeeelllll....OK, I do have a late 40s friend who recently (and heartwarmingly I must say) reconnected with a college love. They have reconnected almost like the intervening 25 years never happened. Before you go AHA! you're all wet!, I must tell you that everyone who knows them is marveling as if we just solved the world hunger problem. See what I mean? AND, the jury is still out on them. I mean they aren't engaged,...or moving in together...or picking out furniture together. I'm not ready to retract my statement yet.

I'm tellin' ya, it's a hard nut to crack.

So, my friend and I decided that the reason is partly, if not wholly, because at 20 you're a blank slate. You don't really know yourself, your likes and dislikes are still fluid, there is minimal accumulation of consequences from half a lifetime of decisions, and your hormones are raging such that much else fades into insignificance. Hard to tell what form you're going to take. You're blessedly too unaware to understand what life has in store for you over the next 30 years. And, you don't know a darned thing at 20 about relationships. What is the saying...ignorance is bliss?

But, it's hard at 50 for the same reason I've decided mid-life crises are so common. It's that 30 year accumulation of consequences from decisions that seemed reasonable at the time but have added up to land you in an unexpected/oopsie place. It's the lifetime of experiences that cause you to have closed places in your heart, neuroses, nervous habits, or things you absolutely will not put up with.

At 20, you're still a soft piece of clay. At 50, it's pretty obvious what the clay is going to be. And the picture can be pretty scary.

Well, that's probably too harsh. It's only scary because the other person can clearly see what you are. And they are pretty well formed too...instead of two soft little blobs of clay easily formed into one, you have two solid, clearly outlined bricks who knock chunks off of each other if they come together with too much force.

That's why I think it all requires revised thinking about the models of relationships we hold in our heads. If we aren't 22, then it doesn't make sense to be looking for the 2 Blobs model of partnering. Two bricks have to stay distinct from each other, close but clearly their own shape.

Of the 2 couples I know OF, one is married to each other BUT they keep separate houses, and spend the night together maybe 3 times a week. One likes minimal clean lines and a VERY clean space sans animal hair. The other has cats (and all the attendant outcomes associated with them) and clutter everywhere. Despite those differences, they really love each other. So, why aggravate the tar out of each other? Why not refuse to push back against those things and go with the chi?

It might not be every person's cup of tea. The point is they have devised an arrangement that suits their needs. A bit unorthodox but not such a bad deal I don't think. I used to have a boyfriend who traveled 3 or 4 days a week. It was great. We both were engrossed in our own affairs during the week, and then on the weekends we were so glad to see each other and we were ready to enjoy each other's company.

Wow, I think this could be the String Theory of relationships.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Ladybug Launch

Legend has it that ladybugs are lucky. Their appearance can mean good harvests, good weather, or promising romantic prospects depending on which country you're in. I'm especially fond of that last one :)

Hey, silly me, I just thought they were cute little things.

But, over the last 2 or 3 weeks, I've noticed a strange and, if legend is true, propitious phenomenon in the house, aka my 'office'. As I've sat upstairs busily pounding away on my laptop putting the final touches on the website so we can launch next month, I noticed a little ladybug. She just kept hangin' around. I just thought, 'cute' and told Cooper, my dog, to quit trying to eat her as she strolled all over the glass door. Then, she seemed to invite her friends.

Until, before I knew it, there are a number of these little gals (is there such a thing as a guybug??) hanging around the door and windows. They've been here for a few weeks now and seem in no hurry to go anywhere.

I am taking it as a sign of goodwill and promising prospects for my website. A kind of ladybug launch, if you will. I feel a little like this brave lady getting ready, after these past months of giving so much energy and thought to this thing, to take a leap of faith out into the big deep blue! Notice you can't see how far down it is to the hard solid ground below.....just as well perhaps!

I don't know if they're really lucky or not, but they make me feel happy and upbeat. And, I figure it's a lot better than a room full of black cats. No offense to cats, I have one, but you know the legends about those!

Friday, December 7, 2007

3 Lessons from my momentous year.....

Well, the march of time successfully escorted me into my 6th decade. I find I am the same person I was the day before my birthday just with a slightly different age label. Not that bad really. I know, big surprise, right?? :)

It's been a big year both chronologically speaking and, I'm happy to report, in a personal growth way as well. The take aways for me are:

Holding onto old stuff can suck the life out of you. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, as part of making this a momentous year, I got serious about wanting to get rid of accumulated 'stuff' that was beginning to feel smothering. 'Stuff' as in a house I'd been in for 10 years which was full of furniture, knick knacks, books, old computer and stereo equipment that had a place once upon a time but had long since become big energy sucks. I felt bound down.

So I rented the house out, got rid of a lot of stuff and took a minimal amount with me as I began sharing a house with a woman who has now become a dear friend. And, I wanted to undertake a creative process that would test my ability to stick with something I didn't exactly know how to do. Check out my hair stylist's wisdom on this subject.... Very pleased with how this experiment has shaped up.

Stretching myself into unfamiliar territory is renewing. Once moved, I set out to figure out how to build a website and social network for women in mid-life. That has been my focus these past months. It was the creative project I chose to engage is a topic of great interest to me.....and right after my birthday I stopped to acknowledge the fact that the site is finally a hair's breadth from going live. That in itself is an accomplishment.

That's where the personal growth comes in, I find that having stuck with this and just 'done the freakin' work' I have much more confidence in my ability to do just about anything. I feel green and supple. The challenge of making all these big external changes in my life, helpful as they are in breaking up old patterns, was that making true change requires the heavy lifting of shifting internal beliefs about how I think of myself and my abilities.

It isn't about not being afraid, it's about being afraid and doing it anyway. It's about acknowledging the old voices in one's head that are saying the task is too hard, or why do you think you can do that, or life would just be easier if you stayed in the comfort zone....acknowledging these and then going right on.

The payoff is really BIG. And, the changes don't have to be as radical as mine have been. Anything that pushes you into territory that scares you a bit will do. Once you experience getting through it, it makes you that less worried about doing it again.

Age isn't chronological is it? That's the big realization, DUH!! It's about where you are willing to put yourself. If you put your self in a box, that's where you'll stay. But you can leave the box anytime you're ready.

And, hey, the water's fine out here ! Really!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wrinkles and Ram

I was reading a Ram Dass article yesterday called Aging Body, Ageless Soul. The whole thing had some great insights about the changes in our bodies and our lives, and how to think about them positively. I'll be the FIRST in line to say I do not like the changes taking place on my face and elsewhere (need I elaborate, we all know here what I'm talkin' about) without my permission. It's hard to get my head around actually, these changes creeping up on me.

My grandmother at 87 used to occasionally say, "I don't understand. I still feel about 30 inside" when she could no longer do this or that. We all--smug young things we were, how embarrassing to think about now--indulgently patted her arm, kind of rolled our eyes in complicity with each other as if to say, "can you believe it, how could she possible feel that?".

I'm here to tell you Grandmother, I so get what you were trying to say! Accept my deepest apologies for the arrogance of youth.

Anyway, I digress from my original point....

I awoke this morning to my east-facing window to a glorious sunrise in the colors only late fall and cool temperatures seem to create: greeny-turquoise, intense orange-red, and light so intense it doesn't seem to have a color, just golden white brightness. Then as those faded a bit, a kind of smoky heliotrope, soft apricot and soothing sky blue. Same for sunsets, just brilliant, almost-too-bright-to-be-real colors. I LOVE this time of year. Waking to this these mornings makes me feel so grateful to be where I am at this point in time.

Back to the of Ram Dass' points was that taking a regular break from the busy-ness of our lives to appreciate timeless things like sunsets, the beauty of a flower, a piece of art, the tenderness evoked by the sight of a young child's wonder is what puts us in touch with the eternal core of ourselves. The part that has been and always will be the same.

I know that is so true. Several years ago, during an especially stressful time of my life, I found I could always comfort myself with the idea that Mozart would still be sublime, the sunset still as glorious, the stars as mysterious, the moon as luminous no matter what happened to me. External circumstances can change for good or for bad, but some things are eternal. It really is so true.

I shall endeavor to cultivate this approach to my visible signs of aging. Would somebody please remind me of this next time I get exasperated at that elusive chin whisker I can't seem to SEE to remove?? Thank you.